The body of 76-year-old Joseph Kitchens was found by a deputy performing a welfare check initiated by the victim’s sister. When Deputy Travis Douglas arrived at Kitchens’ home located on Hungerford Road at approximately 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, he noticed the back door pulled open and evidence of foul play.
The deputy called for investigators and the coroner. Capt. Earl Humphries said Terrence Sanchez Burney, 18, and Tyrone Terrill Richardson, 20, both with addresses on Hungerford Road, were arrested and charged with burglary, kidnapping, and murder.
Humphries said Burney was arrested around 6:30 p.m. on the 17th and Richardson at 9 p.m. the same day.
Sheriff Butch Reece said the suspects’ stories about the crime has been changing, but at this point, he believes the two men went to the house Oct. 11, broke in and took some items, and then waited outside for Kitchens to return.
“When he came home, they tied his hands and took him into the house,” Reece said. “They taped him to a chair, the house was ransacked, and they left him there.”
The sheriff said the suspects are saying they thought someone would find Kitchens. Humphries said, because of the victim’s age and his reported medical condition, he was unable to escape and succumbed to his death.
The victim was found in the living room of his house bound by duct tape to a straight-backed chair.
“We believe the motive was to sell the stolen items and buy dope to sell. One of the suspects needed money to pay an attorney,” Reece explained.
The sheriff said Kitchens had relatives who live next door, but the man was a loner, and his family respected his privacy.
The way the suspects were connected to the crime could be a television episode of ‘CSI’ or ‘Law and Order’. Several of the items taken from the house were firearms, and Richardson was stopped on North Cross Road at 3 a.m. Oct. 14 by Deputy Dusty Harris with the weapons in his car.
Richardson was taken into custody, and the four long guns, two shotguns and two rifles were seized. Officers could find no record of the firearms being stolen, and Richardson was released. The guns were kept.
“We thought maybe someone was out of town and hadn’t realized the guns were stolen, so we were waiting for a report,” Humphries said.
The captain said the crime scene had plenty of fingerprints, and about an hour into the crime scene investigation of Kitchens’ home, ammunition was found, but no guns. Investigators recalled the seized long guns and picked up Richardson.
“We were pleased it only took a few hours to find the people responsible. Now it’s a matter of wrapping up the details,” Humphries said.